SEMİH İDİZ > Europe’s odd fellow travelers

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We will have time to return to Syria as that crisis is obviously not going anywhere soon. But for today let’s just say “enough of Syria” and look at Europe, where ugly things are happening too.

Jews and Arabs, ultimately referred to as “Semitic-speaking people,” may hate each other to the core, but those of them living in Europe are discovering that they are increasingly sharing some things, whether they like it or not.

Both are the increasingly objects of hatred for many Europeans, and are forced to resist the same things. The attempt by a court in Germany to ban male circumcision – sacred for both – is only one case in point. 

There are also increasing reports of groups like the anti-Muslim “Identitaire” in France, who are engaged in willful activities such as serving pork soup to the poor, which no Muslim or Jew will touch, in the name of charity.

Thomas Klau, from the European Council on Foreign Relations, recently told the Sydney Morning Herald, that just ‘’as anti-Semitism was a unifying factor for far-right parties in the 1910s, ‘20s and ‘30s, Islamophobia has become the unifying factor [now].’’

Klau’s remark may suggest that it is Muslims in Europe – whose numbers are obviously larger – and not Jews – most of whom were exterminated six decades ago - who should worry today. But developments seem to belie this assumption. Take the strange case of Csanad Szegedi, once billed as “a rising star” in the far-right Jobbik Party in Hungary. 

Szegedi, also a member of the European Parliament, is (or at least was until very recently) a notorious baiter of the Julius Streicher brand, feeding on anti-Semitism by accusing Jews of “buying up the country” and “polluting things sacred to Hungary,” among other things. 

Needless to say both Szegedi and Jobbik - which has deputies in the Hungarian Parliament - are also anti-Muslim, not to mention being rabidly anti-Roma. But divine retribution stepped in for Szegedi recently in a way he least expected. 

Given that even Hitler is rumored to have had Jewish blood running somewhere in his otherwise dirty veins, the thought that he or she may have Jewish blood must be the worst nightmare for any of today’s neo-Nazi supremacists. 

But this is exactly what happened to Szegedi, who now knows that he not only has Jewish blood, but is also the progeny of Auschwitz survivors. Not surprisingly Szegedi was forced to resign from his party after this embarrassing revelation. 

After his resignation Jobbik said that “they do not investigate the heritage of their members but instead take into consideration what they have done for the nation.” But this does not answer the fact that they were more than happy with Szegedi’s anti-Semitism, and only opposed him after his “heritage” was revealed. 

The Golden Dawn Party in Greece, which now has deputies in Parliament, is another case in point. This rabidly anti-immigrant party is not only anti-Muslim (and of course anti-Turkish by definition) also but also an admirer of Nazi symbols, not to mention being an avid Holocaust denier. 

Across Europe, from Norway and Denmark to Italy and Bulgaria, fascist parties are becoming part of the political environment. Many have a presence in national parliaments, which may be small today but are not negligible. Support for them could continue to increase since there is a correlation between the deepening economic crisis and their increasing popularity, as many European political scientists point out today.

Given “bourgeois sensibilities” and the fact that it is not “chic” to be identified with “the brutish Nazis,” many of these parties “sugarcoat” their fascism. They are nevertheless there to be beheld for what they really are. 

The bottom line here is that while Jews and Arabs may continue to hate each other, they are turning out to be odd fellow travelers when it comes to what they have to face in a Europe where more and more people seem little interested in the lessons of their own past.


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Notice on comments

dogan kemal ileri

8/17/2012 8:12:18 PM

@Aryeh It was actually an Isralei member of the knesset who stated Israel was an apartheid state on a live interview last week on AL jazeera "Cafe in Israel" slot.I don't listen to Ahmenecidad as a rule.

Faruk Timuroglu

8/17/2012 6:26:30 PM

Europe is not, and never been, a safe place for non-Christians, better to say non-Catholics. Witnessing European fellows’ unequivocal contentment during the Bosnian Genocide was one of the hardest... may happen again anytime.

Aryeh Rapaport

8/17/2012 4:35:46 PM

Dogan, Theres no apartheid in Israel. You listen to often to Ahmadinejad! You obviously never visited the country so how can you know its apartheid. The truth is if you like it or not; Arabs, Muslims in Israel have more rights then Turks, Iranians or any other Muslim country. Any denial of such facts is ludicrous, lie. You cant compare British controlling South African black to Jews in Israel defending themselves from Islamic extremist terrorist who openly promote the destruction, death of Jews

Aryeh Rapaport

8/17/2012 3:54:42 PM

Great article!! This is sadly true - welcome to Jewish reality for centuries. This is why Jews returned to their natural homeland. CHARLIE, Jews did not steal the land! Jews paid for it with money and blood. Jews / Israel cant be responsible for Palestinian ghettos; not in Gaza nor all other Muslim countries. Palestinians need to pay for not accepting the partition plan or any other agreement, supporting Nazis (hussain) and for killing, joining forces to kill Jews / Israeli people.

dogan kemal ileri

8/17/2012 2:50:20 PM

Ahmedecidad of Iran is perfectly right Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth!! And replaced by a trully democratic state(instead of the apartheid one we have now) comprising of all the Jews and all the Palestinian Arabs living in peace and security like they did for hundreds years as an Ottoman state.No more arguments ,wars etc etc but both semetic peoples working for a common purpose.Wouldn'ttha be nice!!!t

nicky stern

8/17/2012 1:22:24 PM

Hundreds of thousands of young muslims make their way to Christian Europe every year. Millions more would do the same given half a chance. All of them are uninvited and unwelcome.They are a burden on the social systems and increasingly pose a thread to the social cohesion of the host countries. In Germany, when a Turk buys a house, the house next-door immediately looses in value. When the next Turk moves in the same street, then it´s time for the remaining Germans to move elsewhere.

Red Tail

8/17/2012 9:03:16 AM

I read an article about Sweden. Since the war many jews have been living peacefully in a town down in the south. But now many of them are leaving. The reason is not herassment by the Swedes, but because of violence etc from Muslim immigrants. The Muslim immigrants have ruined grave yards, synagogues and frequently physically attack the jews. This is something the jews have not experienced in Sweden before.

Johanna Dew

8/17/2012 6:54:46 AM

Looking again for my comments!!!!! Anyway, fascism, sugarcoated (as with the MHP) is by law prohibited in the EU. There are small shadow groups of not more then 50 - 100 people. That's it. Antisemitism by Muslims is rampant but Islamphobia by Jews doesn't exist. The author only have to read one of the 1000 reports by independent NGO's about this.

Charlie Brown

8/17/2012 3:45:44 AM

How can they accept the concept of a Jewish state when their land was stolen by the Jews. This obviously does not justify the way imams preaching. But when a few generations of people have grown in those ghettos in Gazza their anger also has grown with them and still growing. For westerners it easy to talk they got rid of their Jewish problem and Muslims have to accept and pay for for Nazi Germans crimes. NO

rich bind

8/17/2012 1:06:31 AM

Well stated article. But, sad to say that most Arabs and for that matter many Muslems don't accept the concept of a Jewish state in their mist. To take it a step further, many Muslem Imams preach that Jews are pigs and monkeys. Until Arabs stop teaching school children to hate Jews (look at school books in Gaza, West Bank, Lebonan, etc.) they two side will not be able to join against anti-semitisim.
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